Many people think a Will is enough to protect their assets. Unfortunately, it isn't.
In California, if you pass away without an estate plan, even if you have a Will, distribution of your assets will be determined by the courts. Judges and attorneys will make those decisions for you and your heirs based on California law - and not necessarily based on your final wishes.
This burdensome and costly process is known as "probate." In California, Probate Court is where your Will or financial affairs will be administered after your death. First, the court will determine if your Will is valid. Then, an attorney will be appointed to manage your assets, review any outstanding bills or debts, and prepare numerous financial reports and accountings to the court. In the end, any assets you have left over will be awarded to your heirs.
This process can take months, or even years, for your hard-earned assets to be distributed to your loved ones - minus statutory attorney's fees. The bottom line is, without an estate plan the Probate Court maintains control over timing and method of distributing your assets.
The process is often difficult, confusing and expensive for families.
The Solution: Estate Planning
Solid estate planning is a gift to your family that also allows you to remain in firm control of your legacy and your "last wishes."
If you have an estate plan in place, your real property and other assets can be seamlessly transferred to your heirs after a short waiting period.
Pattillo Paralegal helps families avoid probate by setting up a comprehensive, affordable estate plan. We work with individuals and couples to prepare trusts, wills, powers of attorney, physician's directives and real property transfers.
If you already have an estate plan and need help amending it, or transferring additional real property into your trust, we can help with that as well.
We can also help you and your family set up end-of-life directions regarding your medical care as well as your legal affairs. Your clear physician's directives can help guide your physicians, children and relatives through the final chapters of your life.
We can even help you set up the documentation you need to assure that your plans for your remains and memorial services are honored in accordance with California laws.
We work closely and compassionately with families to help them face the tough questions like:
"Who will help me make medical and financial decisions if I can't make them for myself?"
"What's the difference between a Will, a Trust, and an Estate Plan?"
"I don't even have a Will yet. What should I do?"
"How old should I be before I set up an estate plan?"
"I'm married. Why do my husband and I need an estate plan if the surviving spouse gets everything, anyway?"
"After I'm gone, how can I make sure my children and grandchildren get the property I want them to have?"
"I have a child with special needs. How do I insure that my child will continue to receive government assistance after I'm gone?"